When I was a little kid, nothing filled me with such hope and excitement as a well-organized garage sale. The endless possibilities and unpassable bargains burned a hole through my allowance like I had just won the lottery (and looking at the spoils from a day of shopping would convince you maybe I had). The funny thing about yard sales and garage sales is that you can usually tell if they are going to have good stuff just from a quick glance as you pass on the road or by a short inspection of the advertising signs. Sure, you may find something really cool at a less organized event, but the water-stained boxes and rusted chairs will probably make you second guess the entire affair. Fortunately, I’m here to help with some simple tips that will certainly distinguish your garage sale from those “please take” furniture set ups by the side of the road. If you are selling some items over a series of days, you may want to consider getting a portable storage unit to establish that cool factor but also show your patrons that you mean business. It can also help store some items that you cannot sell but you have accumulated through the decluttering process.
Advertising is important! When it comes to advertising for garage sales, less is always more. Post signs around the neighborhood or put up fliers at a local coffee shop, but don’t go overboard with images or decorations. The marketing world has soured advertising for a lot of people and an overhyped garage sale could leave a bad taste in their mouths. Simple, bold colors on a white (or neutral colored) background will do well. As far as content is concerned, put only the basic information like the street address and a contact number, if you so choose. One thing that I have noticed working well is an advertisement post on Craigslist. Put pictures of your more valuable items to entice potential buyers. The object they desire might be sold before they arrive, but you’ve gotten them in the door for other purchases. Advertisement is also a great avenue for the kids to participate in as they can ride their bikes around the neighborhood, putting up fliers while you organize the items at home.
The key is a nice layout! Successful garage sales all follow the same basic layout formula, so why try to deviate? Use the tried and true method to make sure your items look neat and orderly for the car window shoppers. It goes without saying that you should group like items together and, if items are sold in a set, place them in bags together so that patrons know what’s up. If there are small, loose items, place them in clean containers that are clearly labeled (like kitchenware or baseball cards). You don’t know how many times I’ve been to a garage sale and had to rifle through disorganized boxes that contained items COMPLETELY unlike one another. It puts a damper on the whole experience. As far as the larger items are concerned, place the largest ones in the front, maybe outside of the garage or container so that there is plenty of room for patrons to inspect them. It also has the added effect of making your entire garage sale look bigger and neater. When everything is out and in the open, go around placing price stickers on everything. It will save you the hassle of having to explain pricing if your garage sale becomes a hit.
Consider joining forces! Your neighbor may be your eternal rival and friend when it comes to house parties, yard care, and even yard sales. Extend the olive branch and offer a nice union of the two garage sales. If you are having a difficult time finding some extra items to really make your garage sale huge, it may be wise to ask some friends or neighbors to chip in. You can label the items with a different color so that sales can be tracked separately. The size of the sale may seem like a superficial quality, but it really plays on the psychology of potential customers. As a boy, the bigger garage sales always saw my patronage because it amplifies the sense of hope and the chance that something good will be deep within the antique furniture and piles of baby clothing.
Create a nice atmosphere! This is where some of that southern hospitality comes in handy! You can create a welcoming atmosphere by offering refreshments, like cookies or lemonade, at your garage sale. By offering food and beverages for free, you are building the trust that customers have for you which will, in turn, make them more likely to purchase an item that you have for sale. It is also just a nice thing to do and the contentment on your patron’s faces will make you feel great! You can also go a long way by offering some free items that you know will not bring any money. Just a simple pile with a ‘free’ sign may bring customers to your garage. You may also want to play some of your favorite music to inject some of your personality into the experience. Just keep it to more neutral, family-friendly music so that you don’t turn away customers.